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UPDATE: Reaction to Texas Senate Passing New Abortion Clinic Regulations

HOUSTON (AP) _ Texas abortion providers fear stringent restrictions passed by the Legislature could force all but five of the state’s clinics to close, possibly leaving only a handful of facilities across the vast state.

The legislation passed early Saturday allows abortions only in surgical centers, dictates when abortion pills are taken and bans abortions after 20 weeks unless the woman’s life is in imminent danger. It also requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital.

Abortion opponents say the new rules guarantee better health care.

Abortion-rights advocates argue the high cost of converting clinics into surgical centers will force more than 35 facilities to close, leaving only a few in large cities. They also fear the closures could create a backlog that will cause women to miss the 20-week deadline.

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WEST, Texas (AP) _ Governor Rick Perry says the abortion bill awaiting his signature to become Texas law isn’t unconstitutional and will withstand court challenges by those who oppose it.

Perry made the remarks while visiting the town of West on Saturday to attend a fundraiser for those continuing to recover from the fertilizer plant explosion in April. The Republican governor who is a rumored 2016 presidential contender told reporters that “we wouldn’t have passed it if we didn’t think it was constitutional.”

Perry said he had no timetable for signing the bill but a spokesman said it could be signed midweek.

Perry said some say the measure goes too far “but most Texans don’t.”

Democrats promised a legal challenge.

The law will ban abortions after 20 weeks, require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and require all abortions be done in surgical centers.

Original story Friday 6 p.m.:

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) received permission Friday from the Texas Senate to increase security after receiving informationthat individuals planned to use a variety of items or props to disrupt legislative proceedings.

Individuals wanting to enter the Senate gallery, where debate was underway on increasing regulations at abortion clinics, all bags were inspected.

DPS reported items found during inspections included one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint. Authorities said those items as well as significant quantities of feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti possessed by individuals were required to be discarded.

DPS says the inspections will continue until the conclusion of Senate business.

The Associated Press reported State Senator Kirk Watson of Austin called it a “boneheaded” and “crazy” decision to confiscate tampons as state troopers sought to take away items that could be thrown from the gallery.

In two related stories:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ The Texas Senate has begun debate on tough new abortion restrictions.

The bill’s Republican author said Friday the restrictions are necessary to protect the health of women and babies. Democrats questioned whether the real intent is to make abortions hard to obtain.

Senator Glen Hegar of Katy said that all abortions should take place in an ambulatory surgical center in case there are any complications, including abortions induced through medications. Democrats pointed out that childbirth is more dangerous and there have been no serious problems with women taking the abortion drugs at home.

Democrats planned to introduce numerous amendments to add exceptions for cases of rape and incest and to remove some of the more restrictive clauses.

Republican Senator Dan Patrick has said he’ll move to stop a lengthy debate.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ The crowd at the Texas Capitol was getting rowdier as activists from both sides of the abortion debate filled the Texas Capitol before the debate begins in the Senate.

A vote is scheduled for Friday in the Senate on tough new abortion restrictions. The restrictions failed to become law last month after a Democratic filibuster and raucous protesters ran out the clock on an earlier special session.

Security was thoroughly checking every bag Friday and more state troopers were starting to patrol the hallways.

A small group of abortion rights activists settled on the main floor of the rotunda, displaying homemade “wanted” posters of several prominent Republican lawmakers. Some are singing the Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and chanting “Whose choice? Our choice.”

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Posted by on Jul 12 2013. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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